Thanksgiving Cocktail

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I have always loved Frangelico; it is a hazelnut liqueur that is traditionally served as an after-dinner digestivo. There is a legend that Frangelico was made by Friars in the Piedmont region of Italy where hazelnuts are abundant, it has a beautiful, nutty flavor profile.

Even if you’re hosting an intimate, family-only gathering, it’s a good idea to make a batch Thanksgiving cocktail. For one, you can make it ahead of time, and for another, everyone can fill their own glasses, leaving you more time to gather with your guests.

This recipe for the pumpkin monk is a palette pleaser. It’s not too sweet because of the citrus notes, and it has a lovely mouthfeel. It’s a delicious way to enjoy the flavors of the season.

Thanksgiving Cocktail: Pumpkin Monk
serves 16 (or 2 cocktails per person for 8!)

You will need:

– A large punch bowl
– 16 oz. Frangelico
– 16 oz. Appleton Reserve Rum
– 12 oz. lemon juice
– 8 oz. pumpkin spice syrup

To prepare:
Pour all ingredients into a large punch bowl and stir well. Serve over ice in a rocks glass or serve up in a coupe. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

For the Pumpkin Spice Syrup
*
this makes 1 cup which is 16 servings

You will need:
– 4 teaspoons cinnamon
– 2 teaspoons ginger
– 1 teaspoon nutmeg
– 1 teaspoon allspice
– 1 cup water
– 1 cup sugar

To prepare:
Place in a pot, then bring to a boil and reduce about 10 minutes, set aside to cool.

Photo Credit: Dane Sponberg

xx Annette

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Kumquat Cranberry Sauce

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A staple at our Thanksgiving table is cranberry sauce, but I always like to put my own twist on it. Cranberry sauce is a perfect complement to Thanksgiving turkey, but instead of opening a can, give this easy recipe a try instead. Even though the end product is luscious and luxurious, cranberry sauce can be whipped up in a matter of minutes, and this kumquat cranberry sauce is perfection.

Everyone will love the citrus flavors paired with the tart cranberries, and it will be the star of the meal. This cranberry sauce is especially good once the flavors come together which makes it perfect for leftovers. I like to serve mine from a jar; it gives it a wonderful homemade quality and is a pretty look for the table. Let me know if you give it a try and what everyone thinks!

Kumquat Cranberry Sauce
You will need:
– 2  cups water
– 1 cup sugar
– 12 kumquats cut into circle slices (cut the kumquat across to create pinwheel like slices)
– 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
– 1 teaspoon cinnamon
– 1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
– 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
– 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
– 1/2 teaspoon cloves
– 2 12-ounce bags fresh or frozen cranberries

 

To prepare:

Combine water, sugar, orange peel, kumquat slices and ginger in heavy medium saucepan. Bring mixture to simmer over medium heat. Simmer 4 minutes to blend flavors.

Add cinnamon, salt and clove and simmer 2 minutes. Add cranberries and simmer until berries burst and sauce is thick, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat.

Refrigerate cranberry sauce until well chilled. (Can be prepared 3 days ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated)

Photo by Stefania Crudeli on Unsplash

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THE BEST Thanksgiving stuffing:: Pear Walnut Crispy Bacon Stuffing

Turkey with Pear Walnut and Crispy Bacon Stuffing

Saying a recipe is the best is a bold statement, I know. But this stuffing really is a game changer. Give it a try and let me know what you think. And if you’re looking for more Thanksgiving inspiration, tis’ the season for my book Picture Perfect Parties. If you want to pull off an amazing holiday soiree, grab a copy!

Pear Walnut Crispy Bacon Stuffing
Serves 8-10

 

You will need:
– 5 slices of bacon
– 1 yellow onion chopped
– 2 stalks of celery chopped
– 3 cloves of garlic minced
– 1 cup toasted walnut halves
– 3 pears cored and cubed
– 4 tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves
– 4 tablespoons chopped rosemary
– 3 links of Italian sausage, out of the casing and crumbled
– 1 loaf of country bread cubed
– 3 cups of turkey stock

To Prepare:

In a large sauté pan, cook bacon until crispy, drain, and set aside. Reserving about a ¼ cup of the bacon drippings in the pan (discard the rest) sauté the onion, garlic and celery in the bacon drippings, when translucent, add the sausage and sage and rosemary walnuts, pears remove from heat. In a large bowl place the bread cubes and the turkey stock, add the mixture from the sauté pan, and crumble the bacon into the bread bowl combine thoroughly.

Grease a casserole dish pour the stuffing into the dish. Set aside until ready to bake

*Bake for 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven, serve warm

 

Photo Credit: Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

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Sneaky Good Side:: Butternut Squash with Chermoula

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You have seen my recipe for chermoula before. I’ve added it to soup and to steak, but one of my favorite uses is to mix it up with butternut squash for a delicious fall side dish. In fact, this would be such a fun addition to a Thanksgiving meal. Let me know if you give it a try.

 Butternut Squash with Chermoula

For the chermoula, you will need:

– 1 cup fresh Italian parsley
– 1 cup fresh cilantro
– 2-inch piece of ginger
– 3 cloves of garlic
– Juice of 1 lemon
– 1 cup of oil
– Salt and pepper
– 2 teaspoons coriander seeds

To prepare:

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, add all ingredients and pulse until it forms a loose smooth sauce, about 1 minute.

For the butternut squash, you will need:
– 4 cups of cubed squash (cubes should be about 2 inches square)
– 4 tablespoons of prepared chermoula
– 3 tablespoons of olive oil
– 1 teaspoon of salt

To prepare:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine the Charmoula, oil and salt in a large bowl. Add the cubed squash and toss with a spoon. Place the marinated squash into a 12″x 8″ baking dish.

Place into the oven for 1 hour until golden brown.

 

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Sunday Supper:: Mushroom Risotto

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I love having a hearty meal with family on Sunday evenings. It is so comforting and sets the tone for the week ahead. I often search my archives for great Sunday supper ideas, and I recently stumbled on my mushroom risotto from my first book, Picture Perfect Parties.

Give it a try this weekend and let me know what you think.

Mushroom Risotto
Serves 6 as an entree, 10 as a side dish
You will need:

– 4 cups cleaned and sliced mushrooms
– 1 small sweet onion chopped in a fine dice
– 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
– 3 tablespoons olive oil + 1 tablespoon for the mushrooms
– 2 cups Arborio Rice (Italian rice available at specialty stores)
– 3-4 cups warm chicken or vegetable stock
– 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese grated
– 1 tablespoon butter to finish
– 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley for garnish
– 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper

To prepare:

Place stock in a medium saucepan on low heat.

In a small frying pan place 1 tablespoon oil and the mushrooms on medium heat and saute until mushrooms become light brown and without liquid. Set aside until ready to add to the risotto.

In a large skillet on medium heat, place butter, oil, and onion in the pan and saute for 3 minutes until transparent, then add the rice to the oil and onion, stir until the rice is completely coated, and continue to saute and stir for 5 minutes. Slowly, with a ladle, add the warm stock to the rice, stirring constantly until all the stock is incorporated and the rice is creamy (about 30-40 minutes). Add the mushrooms and 1 tablespoon butter as well as the parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. Stir until incorporated.

Place in a serving bowl, garnish with parsley, serve immediately.

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